Cape Sounion in Greece: how to get there, what to see

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Cape Sounion in Greece: how to get there, what to see
Cape Sounion in Greece: how to get there, what to see

Not far from the capital of Greece, the legendary Athens, on the southern tip of Attica, is the legendary Cape Sounion. The history of this place can be traced back to ancient times and is closely connected with the legends of ancient times. The first mention of Cape Sounion is found in the famous "Odyssey" by Homer.

How to get there

Panorama of Cape Sounion

How to get from Athens to Cape Sounion? It is better to choose a trip by car. You can easily rent a car in any part of Greece. The road passes along many picturesque beaches of the Aegean Sea and, if desired, you can stop at any of them for a rest. And along the road there are colorful cafes and restaurants serving local cuisine.

Another option to get to Cape Sounion is to take a local bus that runs through southern Attica. The bus makes several stops along the way. The journey itself will take about an hour. There is one drawback: the bus does not run in the evening. If you decide to watch the legendary sunset against the background of the Temple of Poseidon, you will have to get back by local taxi.


Sea near Cape Sounion

This picturesque place has long been inhabited by fishermen, whose well-being directly depended on the vagaries of the changing sea. And so the Greek legends of Cape Sounion are also inextricably linked with the sea.

Since ancient times, there has been a sad legend about the origin of the very name of the Aegean Sea. During excursions in Greece, they tell how much the aged king of Athens Aegeus was worried about the fate of his brave son Theseus. The young man went to the neighboring island of Crete to save his fellow tribesmen from the terrible fate of being sacrificed to the monster Minotaur. The ship on which the son of Aegeus sailed to Crete sailed under mourning black sails, and if Theseus was successful, they had to be replaced with snow-white ones.

But young Theseus, who had successfully defeated a formidable opponent, forgot his promise, and the ship returned, as before, under black sails. Seeing this, King Aegeus did not wait for the terrible news and, out of grief, threw himself into the sea.

It is believed that since then the sea on the shore of which the tragedy occurred has been called the Aegean. But the cape got its fame not only thanks to this legend.

Temple of Poseidon

Columns of the Temple of Poseidon

In ancient times, two majestic religious buildings were erected on a small territorial cape. The temples at Cape Sounion, dedicated to the deities of the Greek pantheon, were known far beyond ancient Attica.

The temple, erected in honor of the formidable deity of the seas, Poseidon, was built on a high rock, withwhich opened the panorama of the entire coast. Historians admit that the architect who created this temple was also the author of the famous Temple of Hephaestus in Athens.

In those days, a huge temple with snow-white marble columns was a landmark for sailors sailing to the shores of Attica. And the locals during the siege of the capital were looking for protection in the building.

The Temple of Poseidon was destroyed by Emperor Arcadius around 399. Only 16 out of 42 marble columns have survived to this day. But even they give an idea of ​​the monumentality and majesty of the ancient sanctuary.

Tourists can also see the remains of an architrave and a frieze depicting the scene of the battle between the hero Theseus and the Minotaur.

Guides conducting excursions in Greece talk about an interesting find, which is now in the Archaeological Museum of Athens. During archaeological excavations near the temple, a huge statue of a man was found. It has been dated to the 7th century. BC. Historians believe that there could have been 17 such statues. Also on the territory were found several small statuettes and the remains of decorative ornaments that were part of the decoration of the sanctuary.

When planning to take memorable photos against the backdrop of the Temple of Poseidon, you need to consider that the building is fenced and is under constant guard, so you won’t be able to get close to it.

History of the Temple of Athena

Ruins of the Temple of Athena on Sounion

The sanctuary, erected in honor of the goddess Athena, was located at an altitude of 400 meters above sea level. For the construction of the temple of the patron goddess of the capital, ancientthe Greeks chose the part where the ancient place of worship of the gods used to be.

Today, only a few foundation stones, the remains of a column and a small fragment of the roof have survived from this majestic building. From these remains, historians have determined that the temple was built from the same marble that was used to build the temple of Poseidon. Time has been merciless to this once significant iconic building.

Make a wish at sunset

Sunset over the Temple of Poseidon

In addition to visiting archaeological sites, tourists from all over the world are attracted to Cape Sounion with fantastic sunsets over the sea.

Locals tell a legend according to which a wish made at sunset near the temple ruins will certainly come true.

Toward evening, the flow of tourists who want to enjoy the beauty of the sunset over the Aegean Sea increases significantly. If you get to Cape Sounion by bus, in the evening there may be problems with the way back to Athens. In clear weather, from the edge of Sounion, you can see the neighboring islands and even the distant Peloponnese.

Tourist Tips

Lake Vouliagmeni

There are two different ways to get to Cape Sounion, and each of them is interesting in its own way. You can drive through the Saronic Gulf - along the picturesque seaside areas of the capital. And you can get through the mountain, visiting the Pine caves along the way, famous for their stalactites and stalagmites.

A visit to the temple of Poseidon is paid, the cost is 4 euros. The temple is open from 8.30 am andbefore sunset. During the winter months (from November to the end of March), it will not be possible to visit the attraction.

Traveling along Cape Sounion, you can also see the remains of an ancient defensive wall that stretched along the perimeter of the cape and, according to archaeologists, was at least 500 meters long. Nearby are the ruins of the dwellings of the first settlers of the island, mainly fishermen and farmers.

It will be interesting to visit the unique Vouliagmeni Lake, the water temperature of which does not change throughout the year. It is located in a very picturesque area, among olive groves and orchards.

The bottom of this lake is a complex system of karst caves and passages. Due to the nearby thermal springs, the water of this lake is considered to be curative, there are clinics on the shore that accept patients with various diseases.

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